U-Haul Slammed as Residents Leave San Francisco

By David Lam
David Lam
David Lam
October 12, 2020Updated: October 12, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO—Moving trucks are in high demand in San Francisco.

“It was all quiet. [The store] was closing during shelter-in-place, and then the next thing I know—boom,” Gene Carr, a manager at a U-Haul branch in San Francisco told The Epoch Times. “For three months straight, me and my team are dying. We didn’t even know what was going on. The lines are just continuous … it’s endless.”

Moving trucks, and also storage units, have been maxed out. He said U-Haul has also found people living illegally in the storage facilities, using electric grills for cooking.

The Epoch Times spoke to some of the residents packing up to leave the city to see why. They cited high living costs in the city and other points of dissatisfaction.

Alhassan Iddrisu, a moving-truck driver, told The Epoch Times: “It’s human nature. People travel most of the time. When [you] don’t feel comfortable where you are, you have to relocate yourself to somewhere else.”


Jordan Estreito and Aiden Forrest were packing up their belongings, heading to Alameda, California, when they spoke with The Epoch Times.

Epoch Times Photo
Jordan Estreito and Aiden Forrest, who are getting ready to move out of San Francisco, stand on the street near their home on Sept. 19, 2020. (David Lam/The Epoch Times)

Estreito, a product manager, has lived in San Francisco for nine years. Many of his friends have left the city in the past couple of years.

He’s leaving because he wants to be closer to friends and family, and it’s also cheaper to live elsewhere. He and Forrest, a graphic designer, have been sharing a one-bedroom apartment.

“I’ve been working out of our kitchen, just sitting at our kitchen table for the last five months just because of the work-from-home. So I really need a bigger space,” Estreito said.

Richard Nave, who was born and raised in San Francisco, said he’s looking to move soon. He’s considering Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Oregon, or elsewhere in California, as possible destinations.

“I don’t like the politics. I don’t like the homelessness. I don’t like the drug abuse. I just don’t like it anymore. … I’m tired of not being able to come home and park my car. It’s time for me to go,” he told The Epoch Times.

Epoch Times Photo
A moving truck is parked in San Francisco, on Sept. 19, 2020. (David Lam/The Epoch Times)

He said he has nephews and a cousin who are police officers, and he doesn’t like the sentiments in San Francisco against police. “I support the police … and I just don’t like what’s going on.”

He’s planning to retire in December, and hopes to leave after that. His two daughters live with him, and they may come with him. Both of them are school teachers.

His wife still wants to be in a city—“She likes to get her, you know, her latte, this and that,” and have a Nordstrom nearby, he said—but they do want more space than they can get in San Francisco.


Though some have found reasons to leave, others told The Epoch Times about reasons to stay.

San Francisco native Mario Cruz listed off things he loves about the city, “At least 20 different items: the weather, the multicultural people, the food, the events, the arts, the parks, the shopping.”

Cruz thinks people are leaving for economic reasons. Cynthia Fortes, who lives in the Marina District of San Francisco, said she’s seen her neighbors moving back in with their parents or to places with cheaper rent because they’ve lost their jobs.

“Every week, I’ve seen it in my neighborhood,” she told The Epoch Times.

Marc Morozumi has lived in the city since 1996 and owns Mukunda Yoga Studio. He told The Epoch Times he feels San Francisco is a city for those interested in transformation and maintaining a sense of well-being. He feels drawn to that energy in the city.

Morozumi said while a lot of other studios are closing, he’d like to move forward with his. “I feel like this is the place to take that big step,” he said.

David Rogers, founder of a digital analytics company, recently moved within San Francisco from one district to another. “We wanted more space. We wanted a yard—and more of a neighborhood feel,” Rogers said. He’s lived in the city for about 20 years.

At U-Haul

Meanwhile, at U-Haul, Carr is looking to hire more employees to help with the rush, but without luck. He thinks people aren’t applying out of fear of COVID-19 and exposing themselves by working with the public.

Epoch Times Photo
A “Now Hiring” sign stands outside a U-Haul store on Bryant Street in San Francisco, on Sept. 19, 2020. (David Zhang/The Epoch Times)

A “Now Hiring” at the front entrance of the Bryant Street location offers a $100 bonus for new hires.

Economist Mark J. Perry tweeted on Sept. 13, “Leaving California is getting expensive due to high demand and a shortage of available trucks. Moving to California is getting really cheap due to low demand and a surplus of available trucks.”

Epoch Times reporter David Zhang contributed to this report.